Town Hall Meeting on Protecting Mahomet Aquifer Thursday at 7 p.m.
URBANA – Protecting the Mahomet Aquifer from the threat of a proposed PCB landfill near Clinton will be the subject of a town hall meeting to be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Beckman Institute Auditorium on the University of Illinois campus.
The meeting will be held in the first-floor auditorium at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana.
Speakers will include Dr. George Roadcap, a hydrogeologist at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute; David Holt, publisher of The DeWitt County Constitution and co-founder of WATCH Clinton Landfill, a grassroots group that opposes the PCB landfill; Joseph Hooker, an assistant city attorney for the city of Champaign, which is leading a coalition of local governments in legal efforts to oppose the landfill; and George Wissmiller, co-founder of WATCH Clinton Landfill and co-founder of AquiferWatchCU.
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing will moderate the discussion. A question-and-answer session will conclude the final 15 to 20 minutes of the meeting.
The meeting is being sponsored by the cities of Urbana and Champaign, the Village of Savoy, Champaign County, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Prairie Rivers Network, The Champaign Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, The Prairie Group of the Sierra Club, the Environmental Stewardship Committee of the First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, Urbana-Champaign Friends Committee, the Earthcare Team of Urbana First Presbyterian Church, the Green Team of Wesley United Methodist Church, Faith in Place, and the Mercy and Justice Committee of the New Covenant Fellowship.
Five cities, two county governments and a local water authority have formed a coalition to share legal costs in a combined effort to block the issuance of a federal permit to allow the PCB landfill cell at the Clinton Landfill. Those governments include Champaign, Urbana, Normal, Savoy, Bloomington, Piatt County, Champaign County and the Mahomet Valley Water Authority.
Peoria-based Area Disposal Service is seeking the permit to store polychlorinated biphenyl waste in a cell at its landfill south of Clinton. The industrial use of PCBs was banned by the U.S. EPA in 1979, as the long-lived, hazardous wastes have been demonstrated to cause cancer.
A federal permit for the PCB landfill has not yet been issued and the U.S. EPA recently ordered another study to more closely examine the way groundwater interacts with the aquifer.
Champaign, Urbana, Normal and the UI have also agreed to share costs to apply for sole source aquifer status for the Mahomet Aquifer. Sole source aquifer status is a federal designation that makes it more difficult to site a chemical waste landfill over an aquifer that supplies at least 50 percent of the drinking water in the area overlaying the aquifer. The Mahomet Aquifer supplies drinking water to 750,000 residents in Central Illinois, and city officials believe the local aquifer meets the federal definition.